Call to revamp appeal process as deadline to appeal 2020 assessments loom

Call to revamp appeal process as deadline to appeal 2020 assessments loom

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - With the deadline to file a formal appeal to fight 2020 assessments throughout the city less than 24 hours away, some said it’s a deadline they’ve been dreading.

Morgan Clevenger, president of the Fairgrounds Triangle Neighborhood Association, has been working diligently in the weeks since the assessments were released, trying to help her neighbors and others around the community figure out how to appeal their assessments. Through all that, she said she’s noticed one thing in particular.

“It needs to be more user-friendly, because without instructions that’s where people feel defeated because there’s nothing clear to use,” Clevenger said.

Residents are instructed to appeal by filing recent appraisals, a builder’s contract, photos and or insurance coverage along with a standard form. Clevenger said in her experience, it lacks instruction and detail on how to best fill out the appeal.

“More people would be able to file an appeal if they knew where to start,” Clevenger said.

While appraisals are considered gold when it comes to appealing an assessment, not everyone can afford one. And with the deadline less than 24 hours away, LaTanya LaBranch with the New Orleans Metro Association of Realtors said that’s where they can help residents by providing comps, or comparable market analyses.

“Because of the impact of this, we lent our services for free. A comparable market analysis is a paid fee to do this, but we wanted to show that we’re part of the community and help residents. So, we provided the service free of charge,” LaBranch said.

LaBranch said they’ve answered hundreds of calls and helped hundreds of people with comps for their appeals. And, she said they’ll continue to do up to the deadline.

“Because of the amount of people affected, this became like a crisis because a lot of people were affected by the change,” LaBranch said.

Clevenger said she fears with how daunting the appeal process can be, and with little instruction there may still be, people who get overlooked.

“For every person we helped, we know there are 1,000 other folks in New Orleans that need our help, and we need to look at a better way to do this,” LaBranch said.

A spokesperson with the Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office said their advice is to fill out the forms as best they can and leave blanks if needed. If there’s additional information needed, the assessor’s office will call you in the days following the deadline.

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